Weekly media wrap - 11 May

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced there would be a $504 million saving in the coming financial year from Operation Sovereign Borders, which will include the closure of detention centres, reduction in charter flights and logistical and service changes.

Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, confirmed that Australia had worked with the Vietnamese government to return 46 asylum seekers intercepted at sea. Minister Dutton said that the asylum seekers were ‘safely returned to Vietnam after we were assured that they did not have a claim to protection and that we had met our international obligations’. Human rights groups criticised the process of assessing the claims.

Minister Dutton announced that the arrival of refugees from Nauru to Phnom Penh, Cambodia was imminent.

A United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture completed a three-day visit to Nauru, where they inspected the processing centre and local detention facilities. The Subcommittee called for greater transparency on conditions and systems governing the centre.

Prime Minister Abbott suggested that Australia was in talks with European Union officials, who were interested in the country’s asylum policy. However a European Commission spokeswoman, Natasha Bertaud, denied seeking Australia’s advice, stating that the Australian model was not of interest because of its refoulement principle.